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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

232                             FLORA INDTCA,
2. ASSAM.
The province of Assam is bounded by the Himalaya and
Mishmi mountains on the north, and hy the Khasia and Naga
hills on the south. It is a tropical valley continuous at its
western extremity with the plains of Bengal, and gradually
contracting to the eastward, till the mountains at last ap-
proach so close together that no level country remains be-
tween them. The width of the lower valley is about thirty
miles; it is in general level, but low ranges of hills project
occasionally fro;m both sides almost to the Brahmaputra, and
isolated hillocks occur scattered here and there over the sur-
face.
The atmosphere is very humid, and dense fogs are frequent
in winter. The rainy season lasts from May till October, and
the rain-fall (about eighty inches at Gowahatti), though much
less than on the mountains by which it is surrounded, is con-
siderable. The climate is therefore on the whole equable,
without excessive summer heat, and without great winter
cold. Lower Assam is richly cultivated, but dense forest occu-
pies the base of the hills on either side, as well as the hillocks
which advance upon the plain.
In Upper Assam there is but little cultivation, and much
forest, which is often almost impervious from rank under-
wood. Along the river the low alluvial plains, which at the
junction of the Dihong are scarcely raised 350 feet above the
level of the sea, are bare of trees, and covered with dense
grass jungle. The mountains display a rich vegetation of the
most tropical forms which India produces. Anonacea are
numerous, several species of Myristicea occur, and the India-
rubber fig forms large forests in some places. Calami and
Plectocomia abound in the dense jungles, as well as other
rare and interesting palms, belonging to the gcnoraiiwfcmi0,
lAcuala, Arenga> *Jreca, Wallichia., etc. Oaks and ohcsnuts
axe also characteristic types, as. are. Guttifem, Temstrwmia-
ce&, Magnolwcea, Saurauja, and tree-ferns.